Unethical Conduct of a Social Worker

NASW promotes the quality and effectiveness of social work practice. This mission encompasses the maintenance of ethical conduct with respect to race, ethnicity, national origin, color, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, and mental or physical disability. To fulfill this part of its mission, NASW has the responsibility of reviewing and resolving complaints of alleged violations of the NASW Code of Ethics.

NASW can only review the ethical conduct of its members. If you believe a social work member of NASW is in violation of the Code of Ethics, one of your options is to file a complaint with NASW. Please see How To File a Complaint for the procedure.

An individual who has engaged in a professional social work relationship with an NASW member and was directly affected, personally or professionally, by the alleged violation of the NASW Code of Ethics, or the Complainant has direct knowledge of the alleged violation stated in the RPR, may submit an RPR.

If the social worker is not a member of NASW, you may wish to pursue other avenues of redress, since the NASW is unable to assist you. Many states have licensure laws that provide a channel for filing a complaint of unethical conduct. You may want to consider filing a complaint with the appropriate state regulatory board.

For information on state licensing boards, contact the Association of Social Work Boards.